NYFW: MARC BY MARC JACOBS

You had to be there. Sort of.

When the Marc by Marc Jacobs fall/winter 2014 collection hits stores this fall, people will look at the clothes and remark how cool and different they are. Yet, unless you were watching this afternoon as the collection was presented for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, you have no idea just how cool the whole line actually is.

First, let’s get things straight in everyone’s head. Marc Jacobs had nothing to do with this collection. That is, I suppose at some point he was shown sketches and signed off on everything, but he didn’t do the designing himself. Marc is having to learn to let go so he can actually run his soon-to-be-publicly-traded company. While it made a big splash when he left Louis Vuitton last fall, the ripples in the fashion waters were much smaller when he announced he was giving the designing reigns of Marc by Marc Jacobs, his younger-oriented casual line, over to Luella Bartly and Katie Hillier. This then, becomes the start of something new for the label, the first collection designed by the new team.

Then, there’s the set: a broad, wood runway that looks very much like a skate park, complete with hills and ramps. Of course, the space was a bit to confined to actually risk putting models on skateboards, but the set was enough to set the tone. Marc his well known for his elaborate runway sets, though, so to walk in and see something this complicated was not all that surprising.

Marc is notorious, however, for being punctual. Arrive late to one of his showa and one is going to be standing out in the hallway. Marc wasn’t in charge this time, though, and the first sign of that was when 4:00 came and went with people still milling about, several not even close to their seats. Finally, after a surprising 25 minute wait, the show started. We can only guess what Marc was saying to Sophia Coppola, who sat beside him on the front row.

From the first look, though, there was little question that the new keepers of the brand had done its namesake well. Sure, there were the elements one expects: torn denim, layers both top and bottom, sport-oriented shoes. But Katie and Luella gave them a good, hard twist that took them out of anything resembling reality and right down Alice’s rabbit hole.

Alice? As in … Wonderland? Yes. Put Alice in the 21st century, perhaps in Southern California, give her a skateboard, and then send her down that rabbit hole. Now you have some sense of just how incredibly cool this show was!

Every piece in this collection is a standout, so it would take far too long for me to try and give you a sense of all there is to see. There are a few things worth highlighting, however.

  1. Not everything is as it appears. You think there are suspenders to go with those pants, but no, it’s an illusion sewn into the sweater. There is visual trickery embedded all through the collection.
  2. Watch the socks. Socks are a big deal for skaters, so they’re an equally big deal for this collection. The ones getting the most attention are BMX socks that mimic the design of shin guards.
  3. Stripes are cool and make you easier to see. Stripes on a giant bow tied around your neck make you impossible to miss. Be ready for a lot of stripes and a lot of really, really big bows.
  4. Colors are meant to be bright. Sure, black provides the foundation for almost all the looks, but where color is applied be ready for primary colors at their brightest.
  5. Cinch the waist. Skater clothes tend to be loose and baggy, which helps protect them in the event of a fall on asphalt or gravel. We see plenty of looseness especially in pants and skirts, but large, broad belts cinch the waist on a large number of ensembles, sometimes giving hem a pseudo military look.

There are plenty of other details you’ll enjoy discovering when you see the collection in stores this fall.

Some people had complained last season that the Marc by Marc Jacobs brand had lost its edge. Look out world, because the edge is back and it is sharper than ever.

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